JACKSON HEIGHTS — An army navy store that's been in the neighborhood for more than three decades will shut down barring a "miracle" after lease renewal negotiations with the building's owner broke down, according to the store manager.
Brown's Army Navy Store, on 74th Street and 37th Road, is offering a 10 percent sale on all of its wares until it closes at the end of the month.
Store owners tried to renegotiate their lease with the owners of the building, but couldn't agree on a new monthly rent, according to manager Tony Minucci.
"We couldn't come to an agreement," said Minucci, 49, who started working with the company when he was 15. "We would have loved to stay — we tried. They couldn't bend."
Minucci could not give specifics on the negotiations. A call to the building's owner, Midwood Management, was not immediately returned.
The store, which opened in 1991 after a decade on Roosevelt Avenue, sells coats, military blankets, patches and more, as well as men's clothing, sneakers, and boots.
Minucci grew up nearby and worked his way up from stock boy to manager. He said it had been a "real struggle" in recent years to compete with chain retailers on Northern Boulevard or at nearby malls.
But the neighborhood store offers "something they don't," he said, like personalized service and a niche selection of military apparel.
While the store is offering 10 percent off everything right now, the savings may increase as the month goes on to clear out the store, which will likely close by October unless there's a "miracle" in the negotiations with the building owners, Minucci said.
The company first opened a location in Jackson Heights in 1976 with a store on 37th Avenue near 83rd Street, which will remain open, the company said.
An Astoria location, which opened in 1990, will also stick around, according to an owner of the company in an email.
Minucci said that he and the six other employees at the closing store were thinking ahead to what's next.
There could be room for him to continue as a manager in the two other shops, but it would "have to fit," Minucci said.
"This is what I know," he said. "It's scary. I have to find something."